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Living in NYC

Stories for Friends. Advice for Strangers.

Monthly Archives: December 2009

Of all the things I hear when I tell someone where I am going, this is by far the most frequent. There are variations, of course. A sibling or other relative knows someone who lives somewhere in or around the city and does something cool (or something like that). Don’t mistake this for complaining, for two reasons. First, I want to become one of those people. Second, I want to meet as many as I can. I have to say, though, that it is overwhelming. Maybe I should start carrying around a notebook to fill with the names of acquaintances of friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, I don’t know what I would do with it once I got there.

Instead of trying to keep track of who knows who and where to find them, I am going to hit the ground running when I get to Brooklyn on Friday. If there is someone you think I should meet, I am flattered! Please let me know, and I will do my best to come across them in the near future.

For now, I will just finish cleaning out my office. Look for a list of interesting things I find along the way next (assuming there are any).


The new year rapidly approaches, as does the unfortunate reality that I have to appropriate all of my possessions based on when I think I will need them. Would you mind helping me out? Take a look at my packing list for NYC and let me know if you think I forgot anything. I am flying up there, so I can only take what will fit in a carry-on bag and a large suitcase (that is, if Amber will let me borrow her big one.) This list should only include what I will need to get by, especially since Amber is coming up in late January and can bring me things. Everything else comes up with both of us in the back of a truck in April.

NYC Packing List (the Bachelor version):
1 wok (I plan to eat fried rice almost exclusively for 3 months)
1 Cup, 1 bowl, 1 plate, 1 mug (it’s Debbie’s “precious moments” one if you must know. Thanks trip-c!)
1 set of flatware and 1 serrated knife
1 blanket, 1 set of twin sheets, 1 pillow
Winter clothes
Sundry toiletries (including, but not limited to, a tooth brush)
Laptop and external hard drive
1 French Press (thanks, Tamara!)
1 piece of tupperware for the leftover fried rice. (thanks, Sarah.)
Bible (I’d like to say it goes without saying, but I would probably forget it. Thanks, Donna.)
Camera – probably the D40, even though it’s big. (Thank you, Ruffie!)

What else am I forgetting?

Today as I sat down to a cup of coffee, eager to begin my day but unable to get in to the office without my keys, I scanned the half sheet of paper in my pocket outlining our Christmas Eve service. Instantly bored, the only choice I had was to pick up the half-read (and most likely discarded) USA Today to my left. Overall, nothing of note lay within, save in one subtle statistic.

March 2009 – Is now a good time to find a satisfying job? Nearly 65% said yes.
December 2009 – Same question. Nearly 90% said no.

At first, this was a little discouraging. Clearly I’m a minority in my thought process here. After a moment, though, I realized that the people the USA Today polled are my competition (we should hope this was a representative sample, but we can almost certainly presume it to be a biased pool of timid, middle-class Americans). No matter what the demographic represented, I take courage in it. If most people are afraid to do what I am doing now, I am guaranteed that at least those people are probably waiting “it” out. Times of great uncertainty yield great opportunity – this time in our history has fantastic potential for growth.

Another encouraging thought. The second year of a bear market sees a gain of more than 10% in the stock market, on average. That’s not a bad deal, either. Hope!

Looking forward to seeing the promises of God kept throughout another year in 2010.

We arrived in Gainesville at around 4PM with a sleeping baby in the car. When I say the baby was Dinah, my future-niece, those who know her understand that this is not a trivial detail. Most car rides shared with Dinah end in terror, so I was feeling particularly fortunate. I was driving, so I took myself home and Amber and Harmony continued on to their house. On my mind – getting ready for our Lessons & Carols service the next morning.

Making the mental transition from a Disney birthday and time with Amber’s parents took most of the car ride, but by the time we got back I felt ready to go. So, Rob Hamersma and I rode out to Oak Hall School, where my church meets, to set up the theater where we would have our service. We met Carter Davis and spent a little more than an hour setting up, after solving one of the problems cause by my keys’ absence (they are resting on a counter top in Orlando.) As we headed home, I tried calling Amber to see what she was doing for dinner. She had told me that she needed to do something in my room for my Christmas present, so I knew she might be at the Hamersma’s. I had no idea who else I would find when we got home!

As we rounded the corner in our neighborhood, there were plenty of cars parked on the street. Normally, I would be suspicious, but the neighbors have big parties sometimes, and I even thought I recognized some of the cars from previous events. So, by the time we walked to the door, I still hadn’t figured out what was going on. When Rob opened the door, the first face I saw was my brother Matt’s through a doorway to the kitchen. As I scanned the room, I saw one beloved friend after another. I have never been this surprised at a party thrown for me! It was a wonderful time to spend with so many people who I will miss dearly.

Thank you to Amber, Sarah, and to my brother and parents for coming from so far away to surprise me. I love you!

The title of this post is to be sung to the tune “No More I Love Yous” by Annie Lennox. I’ll give you some time to do that.

Begin blog post:

As of around noon today, I am no longer a worship leader by vocation. In fact, I am no longer a worship leader in any capacity at this point. What an interesting feeling! I barely know what to do with myself already. Just wait until I am expected to “attend” church a week from now. I don’t know if I am capable of that anymore.

To all those involved this morning who might read this, please accept a very sincere and heart-felt “thank you.” It has been a wonderful three years.

Merry Christmas!

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been weighing very heavily the effect this move is having on my relationships. At first thought (I may have posted something on this before), I imagined my friendships here as being tied up in this process’s aftermath – riding on the wake of my move and hoping to survive it. It is now becoming clear that the real risk lies in its dawn.

This is part of what has been on my mind:

If anyone very honestly (and very passionately) disagrees with what we are doing (that is, moving to NYC in 2010), then I am in uncharted territory. Of course there have been disagreements with plenty of close friends over the years, often on subjects of great importance. Those normally end in some kind of a draw where neither one concedes (nor feels devalued.) Or, the conflicts end with someone changing his mind and maybe even admitting to being wrong. Now, Amber and I embark on something that can not be considered morally right or wrong. Even logic, often a comforting fail safe for me, bends at the idea of doing something that we believe is God’s will, whether it makes sense or not. So this new type of conflict can’t be resolved the way I normally would. And this illustrates for me exactly what makes it such a big deal. I know that through all of the conversations I have with people regarding our move, the people who love us are only looking out for us.

So, I end up here:
Thank you to each cherished friend and family member who is supporting Amber and me in this process, even if by disagreeing with our decisions. We need you.

Thanks for checking in.

Hello everyone, and thank you for reading. Lots going on these days, and I have plenty to write about (just no time to write it). I’ll have a new post up soon.

Tomorrow, we are headed to Disney world for Amber’s birthday.